Are you forgetting something? You aren’t imagining it. It really is becoming harder to remember things in daily life. Once you notice it, loss of memory seems to develop quickly. The more you are aware of it, the more incapacitating it becomes. Did you know memory loss is linked to hearing loss?
And no, this isn’t just a normal part of getting older. There’s always an underlying reason for the loss of the ability to process memories.
Neglected hearing loss is often that reason. Is your hearing impacting your ability to remember? By discovering the cause of your memory loss, you can take measures to slow its progression significantly and, in many cases, bring back your memory.
Here are some facts to consider.
How neglected hearing loss can result in memory loss
There is a relationship. In fact, scientists have found that people who have neglected hearing loss are 24% more likely to experience dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other severe cognitive problems.
There are complex interrelated reasons for this.
Initially, the brain will have to work harder to compensate for hearing loss. You have to struggle to hear things. Now, your brain has to work hard where before it just happened naturally.
It becomes necessary to activate deductive reasoning. When attempting to hear, you eliminate the unlikely possibilities to determine what someone probably said.
This puts a lot of extra stress on the brain. And when you’re unable to accurately use those deductive reasoning skills it can be particularly stressful. This can result in embarrassment, misunderstandings, and even bitterness.
Stress has a significant impact on how we process memory. Mental resources that we should be utilizing for memory get tied up when we’re experiencing stress.
And something new starts to take place as hearing loss progresses.
You can start to “feel older” than you are when you’re constantly asking people to repeat themselves and struggling to hear. This can begin a downhill spiral in which thoughts of “getting old” when you’re actually not become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We’ve all heard the trope of someone who’s so lonely that they begin to lose touch with reality. Human beings are meant to be social. When they’re never with other people, even introverts have a hard time.
Untreated hearing loss slowly isolates a person. It’s more difficult to talk on the phone. Social get-togethers are not so enjoyable because you need to ask people to repeat themselves. You begin to be excluded from conversations by family and friends. Even when you’re in a room with lots of people, you may space out and feel alone. The radio may not even be there to keep you company over time.
It’s just easier to spend more time by yourself. You feel like you can’t relate to your friends now because you feel older than them even though you’re not.
When your brain isn’t frequently stimulated it becomes difficult to process new information.
A chain reaction starts in the brain when someone begins to physically or mentally seclude themselves. There’s no more stimulation going to regions of the brain. They stop working.
Our brain functions are extremely coordinated. Hearing is linked to speech, memory, learning, problem-solving, and other abilities.
This lack of function in one region of the brain can slowly spread to other brain functions including hearing. Memory loss is connected to this process.
It’s just like the legs of a bedridden person. When they’re sick in bed for an extended time, leg muscles get really weak. They could quit working entirely. Learning to walk again may call for physical therapy.
But the brain is different. Once it goes down this slippery slope, it’s hard to undo the damage. The brain actually starts to shrink. Doctors can see this on brain scans.
How a hearing aid can stop memory loss
You’re most likely still in the beginning stages of hearing loss if you’re reading this. It might be barely noticeable. The good news is that it isn’t the hearing loss that leads to memory loss.
It’s untreated hearing loss.
In these studies, those who were using their hearing aids on a regular basis were no more likely to have memory loss than somebody of a similar age who doesn’t have hearing loss. The advancement of memory loss was delayed in people who started using their hearing aids after noticing symptoms.
As you age, try to stay connected and active. If you want to keep your memory intact you need to recognize that it’s closely linked to hearing loss. Don’t dismiss your hearing health. Get your hearing examined. And if there’s any reason you’re not wearing your hearing aid, please speak with us about treatment options – we can help!